NEWTOWN AREA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
NEWTOWN BOROUGH FIRE HALL
14 LIBERTY STREET
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2005
MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 2, 2005: The recording secretary advised the members that there is one change to the February 2, 2005 minutes, under the Comcast update with regards to the Comcast High Speed Internet upgrades. The residential service speed should have been 3mbps download not 2mbps. James Manahan moved to approve the minutes of February 2, 2005. The motion was seconded by James Bowe and passed unanimously
Members Present: James Manahan, Chairman; James Bowe, Member; Steve Erwin, Member; Barbara Jankowski, Member; and Scott Harp, Liaison Representing Newtown Township; Don Smith, Liaison Representing Newtown Borough. Not in attendance was Walt Iwaskiw, Member Representing Newtown Township and Patrick Foster, Vice-Chairman Representing Newtown Borough.
Not present was Joseph Czajkowski representing Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.
CALL TO ORDER:
Chairman James Manahan called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
MINUTES OF JANUARY 5, 2005:
James Bowe moved to approve the minutes of January 5, 2005. The motion was seconded by Barbara Jankowski and passed unanimously.
The Committee members met in Executive Session to discuss negotiation matters.
James Bowe advised the committee members that the Township received a telephone complaint during the last televised Board of Supervisors meeting with regards to background noise on Channel 23. James Bowe advised he was also watching the televised meeting and heard the noise. The committee members discussed the problem. Members agreed to have James Bowe contact Comcast and Video Gold to discuss the problem.
The committee members discussed correspondence received from a Township resident with regards to a complaint she has with Comcast. Members agreed to have James Manahan contact Joseph Czajkowski via the telephone and mail regarding the complaint. Members also agreed to contact the resident and advise her that the Telecommunications Committee is looking into the matter.
The committee members discussed the work Verizon is doing in the Township and Borough.
The committee members discussed an email received from Joseph Czajkowski advising that he could not attend tonight’s meeting, updating the committee members on the following:
The committee members discussed the rate increases. James Bowe advised that Comcast is allowed to increase their prices every year, but the increase is capped by the law. Committee members discussed the possibility of rate decreases once Verizon services are offered within the Township/Borough.
James Bowe advised committee members that he would speak with Ron Weaver regarding the noise on Channel 23.
OTHER BUSINESS/MEMBER COMMENTS:
The committee members discussed the Township’s agreement with Video Gold.
The committee members discussed the progress that the Township/Borough has made over the past years with regards to fiber optics.
The committee members discussed the services that Verizon will be offering in the Township/Borough.
James Bowe suggested that James Manahan advised the BOS with regards to Verizon’s interest in a franchise agreement with the Township. James Bowe advised the members on a comment made at a prior Planning Commission meeting with regards to negotiations for franchise fees. Scott Harp advised the committee members on an ordinance the BOS approved recently. Scott Harp advised that he has spoken with many Verizon representatives with regards to the importance of franchise fees.
The committee members discussed franchise agreements and what the fees are used for. Scott Harp advised all franchise agreements are non-exclusive by federal law.
The committee members agreed to discuss improvements to the Township/Borough they would like to incorporate in a franchise agreement.
The committee members discussed the settlement funds received from RCN. Scott Harp advised the members on the uses the Township is considering for the funds. Barbara Jankowski asked if any money would be used to update the Township’s cable equipment. Scott Harp advised not at this time.
James Bowe made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Steve Erwin. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, 2005. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the Newtown Borough Fire Station located at 14 Liberty Street, Newtown.
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary